I taught a "Backstage Theatre" class last night -- well, actually, it was Linda's class. I was mostly there to help her (although I did spend a fair amount of time explaining lighting design and operation, and set design fundamentals).
It was shocking when we walked into the theatre, though.
We do have a (fairly) nice deal with the school. They let us use their little theatre, and we can build our sets and leave 'em up (usually). We are at the mercy of their schedule (which sometimes (like this year) bites us in the backside), but these are the vagaries of a theatre group without a venue.
By design, the set for our fall show ("The Foreigner") was to be similar to the set for our winter show. The reason for this is that the set for our spring show ("Man of La Mancha") will be extremely
difficult and complicated (taking place, as it does, in a dungeon). My intent was to do a quick modification of the "Foreigner" set (basically, I was going to remove two flats -- the fireplace wall -- and replace 'em with shelves for nicknacks; and install french doors over the entrance door -- that's it), and then spend much of the tech time for this show pre-building the set for "Man of La Mancha".
Well. Apparently, the school decided they needed the stage for some "actor's workshop" they were having (which is, of course, their right). But they went in, and took down the old set completely
. Moreover, they seemed to have taken it down with no regard for the set pieces. When I walked in last night, I found broken flats, a broken table, pieces of wood screwed onto our staircase (for no discernable reason), lighting instruments taken down and tossed onto the staircase, flats lying about in a jumble....They really hurt us -- first, by physically damaging some (a lot!) of our pieces, and then by requiring me to spend a ton
of time building this set from scratch (which was not what I had laid out our tech time to do). It's their theatre, but it's our equipment and set pieces, and they showed ZERO respect for our stuff. It's somewhere between disheartening and downright infuriating.